Student Writing

The Power of “Yet”

I recently came across a TED talk by Carol S Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, that explained the profound potential of the simple word “yet”. This talk resounded with our beliefs regarding learning and education, so we thought we should share it with you, and explain some of the ways in which we, as tutors and you, as parents, can use these ideas to help our students reach their full potential.

What is the power of “yet”?

In her talk, Dweck distinguishes between two student mindsets that she has encountered in her research: “fixed” and “growth”. When students with a “fixed” mindset are faced with a difficult or unfamiliar problem that they can’t solve, they tend to take it as a judgement on their own intelligence. “Fixed” mindset students are happiest when they are getting answers right, when they are getting A’s on their tests, when they can easily answer questions. However, when faced with new ideas and concepts, they tend to get defensive. In various studies, Dweck has found that these students resort to cheating, deflection, and giving up when faced with difficult problems.

On the other hand, students with a “growth” mindset are those that view difficulties as opportunities for growth. Instead of looking at an unfamiliar problem and saying “I don’t know how to do this,” they say: “I don’t know how to do this yet.” Dweck has found that students who use this sort of language aren’t stuck in the present. They understand that they are always in a continual process of learning and developing. Saying “not yet” instead of “not” suggests the possibility for future growth.

Why is this important?

On a daily basis, we see the profound impact that these two mindsets can have on a student’s performance. In particular, a “fixed” mindset can cause difficulties for students transitioning from primary school to high school, students studying for a Select entry or Scholarship Exam, or students commencing their VCE. At these points of their education, students are going to be faced with a number of challenging concepts and difficult tasks. Often, at these times, students can become overwhelmed and go from getting straight A’s to suddenly getting C’s or D’s. This, in itself, is not the problem. What’s important is how they respond to these challenges. Do they give up, or do they use their limitations as motivation to learn more?

So, what can we do?

Obviously, students with “growth” mindsets are more likely to respond positively to challenges and, ultimately, to perform better than those with a “fixed” mindset. But what can we, as tutors, and you, as parents, do to ensure that your child develops a healthy and productive mindset? Here are some things to keep in mind…

1. Praise wisely

Students who are only praised for their successes are much more likely to develop “fixed” mindsets. According to Dweck’s findings, it’s much more productive to praise students for effort, strategy and progress. As tempting as it is to only reward good performance, make sure you primarily praise your child when they work hard, when they refuse to give up, when they try something new. This will teach them that there is more to education than just getting the answer right.

2. Use growth-based language

It’s also important to be mindful of the language that you and your child use. Try to avoid language that labels a student “good” or “bad” at something. Instead of saying “I’m bad at maths” or “I can’t write an essay,” say “I can’t do this particular question yet” or “I have a lot to learn about essay writing.” When giving feedback to students, aim to use language that is specific, goal-oriented, and suggests the potential for future learning.

3. Provide constant challenges

“Fixed” mindsets can also develop when naturally able students are not given sufficient challenges. This is something we see all the time; clever students are often allowed to drift through school, achieving high marks with relatively minimal effort. Unfortunately, these students rarely learn how to deal with challenges, and tend to give up when things may not be so easy anymore.

That is why it is important for students to work at or just above their level, to ensure that they are constantly challenged in order for them to grow and develop. If they find some sections difficult, use this as an opportunity to praise their effort, strategies and progress, because it is not that they can’t do it, they just can’t do it yet!

If you want to watch Carol S Dweck’s video it’s just below

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how we can help your child develop a healthy and productive mindset towards their education or click here to book a free assessment.

The Mock Exam Bundle: A Great Way To Prepare For The Selective Schools Exam

In the final week before the selective schools test, we are giving you the opportunity to sit our full length selective schools mock exam in the comfort of your own home!

One of the best ways to feel more confident during the Selective Schools exam is to do as many practice questions in a similar style and difficulty level as those you will encounter on the actual test.

In previous years, students have stated that one of the most difficult aspects of the exam is answering the questions within the very limited time. By doing a full length test BEFORE the actual exam, you will better understand what the experience will be like so you know what to expect. To help you learn the most efficient technique to answering the questions, full solutions for each question is included PLUS access to our online workshop where we go over major problems and concepts students encountered during our mock exam.

In this package, we’ve bundled together:

  • Our full length 2.5 hour mock exam (including all six sections covered on the Victorian Selective Schools Exam);
  • An answer booklet containing FULLY worked solutions for each question
  • The answer booklet will also contain a sample analytical and creative essay based on the prompts; and
  • A recording of our mock exam workshop, run by our co-founder and selective schools exam expert, Thuy Pham. During the workshop, Thuy runs you through major areas of difficulty and common problems students encountered during the mock exam providing you with a general overview of each area covered (7 Videos in total and over 2.5 hours of content!).


“We used both the classroom and private tuition options for our daughter in Maths and English as part of Selective testing preparation. We could not fault the consistent high standard of delivery by all the tutors especially Thuy who was incredibly supportive. Spectrum use excellent resources which they continue to review and update and they take the time to explain the best approach to what are many new areas for the students through practical advice. We were particularly impressed with the opportunity to undertake a mock exam prior with a feedback session and the post test follow up. Plus you could purchase additional resources through their online store. My daughter enjoyed it so much she has chosen to continue with extension classes. We would strongly recommend Spectrum for anyone seeking any type of tuition they get results.” R. Devlin, parent of student who was offered a place at a selective school in 2015.

Who Is This For?

This bundle is designed for Year 8 students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools entrance exam looking to gain entry into Melbourne High, MacRobertson Girls’. Suzanne Cory High or Nossal High.

This pack is specifically geared towards students who are looking to practice all the exam components to gauge their performance BEFORE the test day. We’ve found that many questions on these exams may be completely unfamiliar to students and this will cause a major loss of time if students are stuck on particular questions. It is therefore essential that students practice as many of these questions prior to the test day as possible to give them the best chance of achieving success. This, combined with our detailed answers and workshop videos tend to give students the extra edge and confidence they need prior to sitting the Victorian Selective Schools exam.

What Do You Receive In This Bundle?

This bundle includes:

  • 1 x full Selective Schools exam package (covering all 6 exam sections: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, mathematics, reading comprehension, narrative and analytical writing prompts)
  • 1 x FULLY worked solutions book containing all the sections covered in the mock exam
  • 2 x sample essays (one creative, one analytical) PLUS detailed instructions walking you through the process of writing winning essays within the very limited 15 minute timeframe.
  • 7 x videos from our Mock Exam workshop (over 2.5 hours of content) covering major problems uncovered during the mock exam this year. In these videos, we go through each area and discuss the most important topics as well as common errors that students made on the mock exam. We also do a review of the key skills students should be focusing in on prior to exam day.

Why You Should Purchase This Exam Package

This package will prove to be a great tool if your child hasn’t completed many (or any!) exam style questions or full length practice tests, and needs to become familiar with exam timing.

The detailed answers and video workshop will also provide further guidance on how to solve all the tricky questions presented in the exam paper in the most efficient way possible.

This package is also useful as it allows you to simulate a full exam to help you improve your timing during the real test. Numerous students have also used this pack as a diagnostic tool to guide their study in the crucial final weeks before the actual test.

** For our terms and conditions see here =>

Buy Now >>


What Does It Take To Gain Entry To A Selective School? The Results Might Surprise You!

One of the most common questions we receive from parents and students regarding the Victorian Selective Schools exam is:

“What marks do I need to gain entry?” or “How many superiors do I need?”

The answer to these types of questions is complex. In previous years, different combinations have resulted in students gaining entry to the selective school of their choice. In this video, we will discuss some of these results to give you an insight to what different students achieved when they received their offers. We also describe how these students used the results after sitting our mock exam to help them focus their study in the few short weeks leading up to the actual exam.

In the video, we’ll share a short case study of 3 students who attended classes at Spectrum Tuition, completed our annual mock exam and then subsequently gained entry into a selective school. If you would like to have a go at this mock exam and watch the accompanying workshop video which offers tips and outlines common mistakes, please click here. Full worked solutions for every question is also included with this mock exam package.

The important thing to note about the above video is that there is no set formula on how many ‘superiors’ you need to gain entry to a Selective School. Having said this, it is unlikely that you will be offered a place if you score a ‘low’ in any of the tests.

If you have any questions please feel free to add them below in the comments and we’ll endeavour to answer them.

Spectrum Tuition Victorian Selective Schools Mock Exam 2016: Open For Enrolments

Want to practice your exam taking skills under realistic test conditions before the actual selective schools exam? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for!

Our 2016 Victorian selective schools mock exam is now open for enrollments.

We will be holding our 2016 selective schools mock exam for students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools Exam on Sunday 15th May (mock exam) and Sunday 22nd May (workshop).

Why Sit Our Mock Exam?

Are you worried your child isn’t ‘exam ready?’ Do you want to know how they’ll perform under realistic time constraints and exam conditions? If so, you’ll want to enrol in our mock exam programme.

Our mock exam is aimed at helping students get a realistic sense of how they’ll perform under the intense pressure of a 3-hour exam. We then follow up with a 4-hour workshop that’ll go through the most common problems student had with the mock exam questions.

To ensure that students get the maximum value from the workshop we limit our intake to 45 students.  We don’t fill out the hall with hundreds of students and then run a generic workshop. We tailor our program based on the data generated from the actual mock exam.

How Does It Work?

The exam will begin at 9am and will be held at Footscray North Primary School (map). The exam will be held in the school hall.

We will then hold a 4 HOUR interactive workshop the very next Sunday outlining the most common errors and provide tips on how to improve your performance on exam day. We also encourage parents of students who have sat the mock exam to sit in on the workship, so that they can fully understand what their child needs to do to prepare in the last few weeks before the exam.

Places are strictly limited to 45 places – so register today to secure your spot.

This is your only chance for your child to sit a full-length exam in a similar style and format as the actual test BEFORE the day AND get feedback on your performance!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Register by 11th April and get $50 off! 7 hours of test preparation normally $225, now just $175!



7 Things I’ve Learnt About Education Over The Past 14 years Running Spectrum Tuition

‘Education is the best weapon you can use to change the world’ – Nelson Mandela.

It’s a bit hard to believe that Spectrum Tuition is heading into its 15th year. Over the years, we have been helping both students who struggle to keep up with their classmates as well as students who are so bright that their mainstream schools struggle to keep up with them. As a result, I have been given a unique insight into how to best cater to students from these two extremes as well as gain a wider understanding of how the education system works from the inside.

With the school year fast approaching and as a parent to a child who is about to start school this year, I thought it’d be a good time to share the most significant learnings I’ve developed over the time I’ve been running Spectrum Tuition. This is so that you too are equipped with the knowledge to make more informed decisions for your children.

Here are 7 of the most important lessons I have learnt about educating mainstream students from my experience running Spectrum Tuition.

1. Students should be grouped based on ability, rather than age.

Most topics at school are based on a series of skills that if learnt in the correct sequence will lead to success.

If your child is finding a specific topic difficult, it is rare that this is the only topic they are having problems with at school. A student who is having problems with fractions or algebra is most likely also having problems with multiplication or division. If a child is struggling with spelling or reading, it’s because they don’t have a strong enough handle on phonics. Most topics at school build on from earlier topics.

We do not recommend placing children into classes that may be beyond their ability level before they have built a strong enough foundation in earlier topics because they will constantly feel like they need to catch up. Children develop and mature differently and to ensure that they achieve high results at school, they need to be taught at a level where they can engage with the material as well as provide enough of a challenge to give them the best opportunity to shine.

This is why at Spectrum Tuition, our number one priority when new parents enquire about classes is to book in for a free, no obligation assessment where we thoroughly assess students’ existing abilities in writing, grammar/ punctuation, reading comprehension and mathematics across several year levels in order to pin-point exactly what your child’s level is in order to tailor a plan to best meet their specific needs.

Selective Schools Mock Exam 2015

Thanks for your interest in our mock exam. Enrolments for our 2015 mock exam have now closed. If you’re interested in signing up for the 2016 mock exam please provide your details below and you’ll be the first to know about our next mock exam. 

We will be having a selective schools mock exam for students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools’ Exam on Saturday 30th May. The exam will begin at 9am and will be held at Footscray North Primary School (map). The exam will be held in the school hall.

We will have a 4 HOUR interactive workshop the very next day outlining the most common errors and providing tips on how to improve your performance on the day. We also encourage parents of students who have sat the mock exam to sit in so that they can fully understand what their child needs to do to prepare in the last few weeks before the exam. Places are strictly limited so register today to secure your spot.

This is your only chance for your child to sit a full-length exam in a similar style and format as the actual test BEFORE the day AND get feedback on your performance!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Register by 11th April and get $25 off! 7 hours of test preparation normally $175, now just $150!



The Two Ingredients Your Child Needs To Improve Their Chances Of Winning A Scholarship Or Gaining Entry To A Selective School.

Exam season is upon us and many students are preparing for scholarships and selective schools exams. With only a few short weeks to go before a number of select entry and scholarship exams take place, I thought I’d provide some last minute advice and offer you a free gift.

There are two main factors that contribute to success on a select entry or scholarship exam: content knowledge and timing.

One cannot exist without the other.

Your child may answer all questions quickly and within the timeframe, however if they don’t know HOW to answer the questions, this will unlikely lead to success.

Similarly, if your child understands how to do the questions, but takes significantly longer than one minute to answer each item, or doesn’t have a refined test taking ability, a majority of the questions will remain unanswered.

This will also unlikely lead to success.

This is why we have produced our exam packs.

We have carefully dissected countless sample exams to determine the most common types of questions your child is likely to encounter. In addition to this, we have formulated the most efficient method to answer each question and have come up with step by step solutions, written in a simple way just as though your child were sitting beside us in a tutoring session.

The sum of our work is presented in our popular exam packs

Over the past 14 years, we have made it our mission to prepare students for these types of exams. We believe that hard work should be rewarded and every child should get the opportunity to attend a top school, if they so desire. We also keep our materials updated by speaking to students who sit these exams each year and strive to make them as close as possible to the actual exams.


Get Published On!

At Spectrum Tuition, we are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements – particularly when we see some of our previously disengaged students use our easy to follow techniques to produce winning essays. 

The purpose of writing is to gain a captive audience, so we are giving some of our chosen students the opportunity to publish their work on our website.

With thousands of unique visitors to our site each month, this is a fantastic way for our students to get the recognition they deserve and to hopefully serve as a platform to encourage budding young authors reach their potential!

Our first essay was written by Ana, a Year 5 student attending our centre. She wrote the following essay within 20 minutes.

We think she’s extremely talented. What do you think?


Richard stumbled through the dark creepy forest and fell. He tumbled and landed with a splash in a muddy river. As he surfaced, something square-shaped and dark floated towards him. He picked it up. It looked like some sort of book. He flicked on his flashlight. No, it was a diary. It was emerald green and emblazoned in gold was the name Edmund Smith. “Who is Edmund Smith?” Richard questioned. He turned the first page and with an excruciatingly deafening slurping noise, he got sucked into it.

“Nutzen ihn!”(Seize him) someone bellowed. Richard turned slowly. “Run Edmund!” screamed a deep-voiced man in the distance. It appeared he was in World War One, fighting as Edmund Smith. Just his luck, he had landed in the middle of an air raid! 

Suddenly, his only protection- his rifle-was snatched from him. He was engulfed by people speaking a foreign language. NAZIS! Panic swept through him like a river current. His wrists were suddenly bounded into strong, painful iron cuffs. Richard felt something hard smash into his head from behind. Everything turned red, then black. 

Richard awoke in a dark, dripping, rusty cell, with some stale bread crusts and an empty water pail. His head was painful and sore. He felt sick, as if he had not slept at all. When he stood up, his head spun like a spinning top. He banged on the bars, hoping to break free – but it was no use. As he turned, he spied something. It was the diary! He groped for it, turning the first page… 

“Richard, hurry up, you’ll be late for school,” shouted his mother. “Phew”, Richard thought, “it was all a horrid dream”. He reached for his school bag. Out of the corner of his eye, sitting on top of his bag was an emerald green book with letters emblazoned in gold. Slowly, without thinking, he flicked open the first page…


Top 10 Signs Of A Gifted Child

Intellectual giftedness is often a confusing and complex concept for parents to get their head around, particularly because there is no one clear definition of what it is that makes a “gifted” child. In general, the term refers to children or adults whose IQ are over 130 and, as such, lie in the top 2 percent of the population. However, there is no clear cut distinction between a gifted and a non-gifted child; children mature at different rates and develop different capacities and skill sets. Giftedness is more often associated with academic success; gifted children often excel at one or more areas of their education, though their talents, if not properly fostered, might also leave them feeling unsatisfied, bored or isolated at school. As a parent, you are in the best possible position to identify whether your child has any unusual capabilities and, if so, make sure they receive the support that they need to reach their potential. Here are the top 10 things that, at a young age, might suggest giftedness in a child.

1. Specific Talents

Does your child have a specific skill that seems impressive for their age, such as musical ability, creativity, language comprehension or numeracy skills?

2. Expanding Vocabulary

Does your child seem to pick up, understand and use words quicker and more naturally than other children their age?

3. Asks “What If?” Questions

Does your child think about situations in an abstract manner? Do they ask lots of hypothetical questions?

4. Relentless Curiosity

Does your child seem constantly hungry to learn more and more about the world? Do they pursue things that they are interested in?

5. Vivid Imagination

Does your child seem particularly creative or imaginative? Do they have an aptitude for telling stories, drawing pictures or creating imaginary situations?

6. Memorisation Of Facts

Is your child able to recall facts with unusual accuracy? Does your child seem to have an encyclopaedic memory of everything they are taught?

7. Observation Skills

Does your child notice things that other children their age, or even you, don’t? For example, does your child remember exactly where you set down the set of keys that you can’t find in the morning?

8. Problem Solving Skills

Does your child come up with creative and novel solutions to problems that they face in their day-to-day life. Do they tend to solve their own problems rather than coming to you for assistance.

9. Sense Of Justice Or Fairness

Does your child seem to express an above average concern for the ethical or moral implications of situations? Are they able to put themselves into other people’s perspectives and think about big-picture issues such as fairness and justice?

10. Sense Of Humour

Is your child able to understand and tell complex jokes? Does your child have a good sense of comedic timing? Though this may not seem like an academic skill, a good sense of humour often requires high levels of intelligence.

If you suspect that your child may be gifted, you might be initially quite daunted by the responsibilities and challenges that this may prevent. However, every expert will tell you the same thing: relax. Before your child starts school, there is no need to subject them to an IQ test or put any undue pressure on them. This may have a negative impact upon their attitude towards learning. What you should do, however, is support and foster their growing interests and encourage your child to pursue them to their fullest potential. When your child starts school, however, it is important to keep an eye on them to make sure that they are receiving the support that they need. Gifted children can often feel stifled, frustrated or alienated within a conventional school environment, and it is important to ensure that this does not hamper their educational and social development. You may choose to get your child’s IQ tested. If it does turn out that your child has a significantly high IQ, then there are plenty of resources available to help your figure out how to best support your child’s need. A good first stop for information is the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented.

SEALP Exam Packs In Our New Book Store!

Our new online bookstore, Spectrum Learning is now officially open for business! This digital bookstore is a place where you can purchase materials geared towards helping your child prepare for the selective entry accelerated learning program (SEALP or ALP) exam in May and the selective schools exam (for entry into Melbourne High, The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School) in June. We also have many more titles planned for release over the next few months.

All materials available on the site are provided as digital books. This means that as soon as your payment is confirmed (which only takes a few minutes) you’ll be able to download your book and start studying.


To coincide with the launch of our new store, we are also launching our SEALP exam packs. This is one exam pack that many parents have been asking about and we’re happy to have it available for purchase. These exam packs have been specifically designed for the upcoming SEALP and ALP exams. We’re offering two exam packs (a Basic and an Advanced package) at launch. Both provide great value for money. Here is what you receive with each package.

Basic Package – $49 (Can be purchased HERE)

Our basic pack includes:

  • 1 x Numerical Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 1 x Verbal Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 1 x Mathematical Reasoning Exam Sections; and
  • 1 x Reading Comprehension Exam Sections.
  • 1 x Writing Prompts
  • Basic Answers

Advanced Package – $149 (Can be purchased HERE)

Our advanced package includes:

  • 3 x Numerical Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 3 x Verbal Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 3 x Mathematical Reasoning Exam Sections; and
  • 3 x Reading Comprehension Exam Sections.
  • 3 x Writing Prompts
  • FULLY WORKED answers to all sections (not including the writing prompts).

In total, you receive 3 FULL exams with FULLY WORKED answers.

All packages are delivered as digital books (PDFs) and can be downloaded for immediate use. So what are you waiting for? Come check us out!



Why Test Preparation Is Vital

I often get asked by parents whether their child should be doing anything to prepare for an upcoming test. Whatever the test is, whether it is the NAPLAN, VCE exams, a Scholarship exam, a Selective Schools entrance test, or even the weekly spelling test, my answer is always the same:

“Yes, of course.”

In my experience, every test worth sitting is a test worth preparing for. Check out my top 4 reasons why test preparation is vital for every student and for every test. So, what are you waiting for? Go!

1. A Test is Never Pointless

There is no such thing as a pointless test. Even if the results are not directly important to your child’s future, preparing for and sitting a test is a great way to build experience, gain confidence and consolidate knowledge. Preparing for a difficult test, such as the NAPLAN tests or the Scholarship and Selective tests doesn’t just help you succeed on test day, it also teaches students a variety of skills that they can apply in their day-to-day education.

2. Test Taking is a Learned Skill

Every skill takes practice. A professional athlete will train for months or even years before an event, a musician will practice for hours each night before a big performance, so how can you expect your child to perform well on a test without preparation? What’s more, studying hard for a test doesn’t just make you better at taking a test, it also makes you better at studying. A student who conscientiously prepares for every test they take throughout their education is far more likely to have the test-preparation skills required to succeed in VCE.

3. Good Performance Has Many Rewards

This is an obvious one. Performing well on a test can bring amazing rewards. Obviously, high VCE scores can open a range of possibilities for your child’s future; a high score on a Scholarship or Selective Schools test will allow your child to have access to a high quality education at a fraction of the price. Isn’t that worth preparing for? Less dramatically, high scores on the NAPLAN and on regular school tests and exams may boost your child’s confidence, show their teachers their true potential, open access to advanced programs and even determine whether or not your child will get into the high school of their choice. These things are definitely worth studying for.

4. Lots of Other Student are Already Preparing!

If you are thinking about preparing your child for a test, that means that someone else has already started preparing. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our website for more information on preparing for Selective Schools entrance tests, Scholarship exams, VCE exams and the NAPLAN test. You can also check out some sample exams for the Scholarship and Selective test.

How To Get The Most Out Of Practice Tests

If your child is preparing for a Selective Schools or Scholarship exam, then they may be using the summer holidays as a chance to have a go at some practice tests. Practice tests can be a great way for students to study and assess their abilities before a big exam. They are a great way of showing students what it takes to achieve success on their actual exam. However, if not taken properly, practice tests may not be as effective as you might think. Today, I give you my tips for how your child can get the most out of their practice tests these holidays.

1. Before the Test

There’s no point just jumping straight into a practice test without preparing; if you do, you’re unlikely to get the most out of it. Before completing a practice test, you should have a clear idea of what the test will cover. It may be a good idea to have a list of all the areas covered on the test, and make a note of which areas you are confident in and which you are not. A practice test is a great way to consolidate your study, but it should not be used as a means of study on its own.

2. During the Test

As much as possible, you should try to take practice tests under proper test conditions. Give yourself an appropriate timeframe, limit yourself to the allowed resources (don’t use a dictionary calculator if you’re not allowed one on the actual test) and try to take the test as seriously as possible. If you think you know the answer to a question, try to show your working so that you can remember it and check it later. If you are unsure of the answer to a question, don’t just guess; make a note beside that question so you will know to look over it later.

3. After the Test

This is the most important part of a practice test. Too many students just correct their practice test, look at their score and shrug. Good students analyse their results. By going over your practice test closely, you can figure out the following things.

-Whether you have improved since your last test

-Which areas you are confident with

-Which areas you need to focus on in the future

-What common mistakes you are making

-Whether or not you are able to work within a time limit

It is a good idea to spend some time after every test analysing your performance. Identify areas that you need to focus on in the future and make a plan for how you can do so. When you sit your next practice test, you can see whether you have improved in these areas, and plan from there.

Spectrum Tuition offers a range of practice test packs for students sitting Scholarship or Selective Schools exams. To find out more, check out our website or call us free on 1800 668 177.

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Everything You Need To Know About The SEAL Program

When I say SEAL, you may be thinking of the cute animal that swims in the sea. I am talking about the Select Entry Accelerated Learning program, an initiative run by the Victorian Education Department to ensure that talented, gifted and motivated students are given the best possible chance to achieve excellent in their education. The program runs for years 7-10 and allows advanced students a chance to work at a more advanced pace and level. If you think your child is talented, motivated, and is not currently being adequately challenged by their school work, then I recommend you read on as I answer some frequently asked questions about the SEAL program.

What does the SEAL program involve?

The SEAL program allows gifted students in a variety of Victorian public schools to progress through more advanced course work at a faster pace than they would have otherwise been able to. The program is perfect for students who are not feeling challenged by the level of the rest of their class, and are looking for a greater challenge.

Student enrolled in a SEAL program usually complete the years 7-10 of their high school education in 3 years. This leaves them with more options for how they wish to complete their final VCE years. Some students finish their VCE in the next two years, while others use the extra year to complete a wider range of VCE and university extension subjects. In the end, this extra year will ultimately give students a far greater chance of achieving the high ATAR score that they desire.

Would the SEAL program help my child?

The SEAL program is designed for students entering high school who are hard working, dedicated, experienced, creative and who have a high level of maturity and the ability to work and learn independently. If you think this may be your child, then have a go at answering the following questions.

Is your child at the top of their class at school?

Did your child perform above average on their NAPLAN test?

Are you concerned that your child is being held back by the pace of their class?

Does your child ever complain that their schoolwork is too easy?

Is your child able to work hard on their homework without being nagged?

Is your child constantly motivated to achieve?

Will your child be commencing secondary school in 2015?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then your child may just be the perfect candidate for the SEAL program. A SEAL program could provide your child with the challenge that they need, as well as giving the best possible support in achieving their goals.

Which schools offer a SEAL program?

When choosing high schools for your child, it is worth checking whether they have a SEAL program. There are currently 36 schools in Victoria that offer the SEAL program, located in both metropolitan and rural areas of the state.

Balwyn HS Emerald SC
McGuire College Wodonga Middle Years College
Bellarine SC Fairhills HS
Mill Park SC Trafalgar HS
Belmont HS Gladstone Park SC
Mordialloc College University HS
Box Hill HS Horsham College
Mount Clear SC Wangaratta HS
Brighton SC Keilor Downs College
Mount Erin SC Warrnambool College
Brunswick SC Koo Wee Rup SC
Reservoir District SC Werribee SC
Buckley Park College Lilydale HS
Rosebud SC Westall SC
Dandenong HS Lyndale SC
Sale College Williamstown HS
Gleneagles SC Matthew Flinders Girls HS
Staughton College Emerald SC

Each school has different entry requirements for the program, so it’s best to deal with things on a case-by-case basis. Decide which schools are close to you and interest you, and then check their website for information of their SEAL program. This will let you know what the school offers, and how and when your child should apply.

What are the entry requirements?

Students that wish to be accepted for a SEAL program usually have to sit a series of tests and interviews. Though the exact details vary from school to school, most school use testing companies, such as Edutest to provide their tests. These tests are designed to assess a range of abilities such as reading comprehension, mathematics skills, written expression, verbal and numerical reasoning.

Quite often, students are asked to answer questions that they have never faced before. They may be challenged with unfamiliar words, complex scenarios or advanced mathematical principles. The point of these tests is to identify which students are truly able to excel under challenging conditions. The tests usually take place in the middle of the year. Most of the tests for 2014 entry will have already been completed, but if your child is entering high school in 2015, then now is the time to start researching, planning and preparing.

How can I find out more?

If you want to find out more about SEAL programs, there a number of resources you can use. The website for the Department of Education is a good place to go for all the official guidelines and information on the program.

If you want specific information about entry requirements and test dates, these can be found by checking the website of the school that you’re interested in. If you want to talk to someone one-on-one, you can also call the SEAL coordinator at each school. Here is a convenient list of their contact details.

If you want any advice or information about what your options are, whether your child would benefit from a SEAL program, and how you can prepare your child for the entrance test, we’re here to help. We provide a range of classes that give students all the skills they will be tested on, including essay and narrative writing, mathematics skills and advanced numerical and verbal reasoning. Find more information on our website here or call us for free on 1800 668 177.


New Selective Schools Exam Preparation Course Starting 20th July 2013!

It’s an exciting time of year at Spectrum Tuition. Over the last two weekends, we held our Selective Schools Mock Exams and feedback sessions. These sessions were designed to give students a chance to get a feel for what it takes to succeed in an actual selective school exam. All of the students who sat the mock exams will soon be sitting down, alongside roughly 3000 other students, to try to gain a place in a prestigious Melbourne selective school, such as MacRobertson Girls’ High School, Melbourne High School, Suzanne Cory High School and Nossal High School.

Some students sitting the exams have been preparing with us since the middle of last year in our Selective Schools Exam Preparation classes. We wish them the best on actual exams over the coming weeks!

But now is the time to start thinking about next year and ask yourselves a few questions…

Is your child talented, dedicated and enthusiastic about his or her studies?

Does your child often feel unchallenged by their current schoolwork?

Do you want to make sure your child gets the best possible opportunity in life: a good education?

Is your child currently in year 7?

If so, then you really should start thinking about preparing your child for a selective schools exam. A place at a prestigious selective school can offer a huge range of possibilities for a talented student. Students at these schools consistently achieve high ATAR scores, and go on to gain top university places and pursue rewarding careers.

However, places are extremely competitive, and the selective schools exam is incredibly difficult. That’s why many students come to our classes to gain an advantage over the competition. Our 40 week Selective Schools Exam Preparation course runs on weekends and covers absolutely everything that your child will need to succeed on the exams, including content that they would never learn in school. Topics include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, persuasive writing, narrative writing and exam skills. Further, many of the topics covered in the mathematics portion tests material well beyond what is expected in the Year 8 curriculum.

Click here to see sample tests

The 40 week course starts at the beginning of term 2 on the 20th and 21st of July, so there’s still time to enrol! If you have any questions about how we can help to give your child the best possible chance of a excellent education, call us today to book a FREE assessment!

Or, for more information, have a look at this page.

Selective Exam Practice Papers Now Available For Purchase

The Victorian selective schools entrance examination for 2013 is just around the corner and it is an exam that your child must prepare for in order to improve their chances of success. How much preparation your child receives depends on many factors such as your child’s attitude to study, expertise and economic factors, however, to give you perspective, it is becoming common practice for parents to help their children prepare several years in advance to not only maximise their chances of gaining a place at one of these top schools, but to ease anxiety in the days leading up to and on the actual day of the exam.

While many people are of the view that preparation gives students an unfair advantage and students should be selected based on their natural ability, schools vary widely and the order that one school chooses to present topics to students may differ widely from the next. The test will contain items that will test knowledge that will be beyond the Year 8 curriculum, so while your child may be the top student in their class, they may not have the requisite knowledge to pass the exam.

If your child will be sitting these examinations in a few week’s time and has not prepared for the task at hand, there are several things you should do:

  1. Sign up to our free 5 part selective schools success course
  2. Have your child complete the practice exams published by Edutest to determine what gaps exist
  3. Sign up to our mock exam to give your child an opportunity to sit a full length test BEFORE the day.
  4. Have your child complete additional practice papers to familiarise themselves with the format and to cover the widest range of questions that are likely to appear on the actual test. There are some freely available tests which we have linked to here

If you would like more practice tests that cover similar topics and is formatted like the actual test that your child will encounter on the actual exam, the following exam packs are available for purchase:

Package 1: Basic $49

In this package, you will receive one full length test plus basic answers for each of the following areas:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Verbal reasoning
  3. Mathematics
  4. Numerical reasoning
  5. Narrative prompt
  6. Persuasive prompt

This package is suited to students who just want a bit of extra practice and who may already be familiar with many aspects of the exam and can work backwards to determine the correct answer based on the basic answer given.

Package 2: Advanced $149

In this package, you will receive three full length tests plus full worked solutions and explanations for each question for each of the following areas:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Verbal reasoning
  3. Mathematics
  4. Numerical reasoning
  5. Narrative prompt
  6. Persuasive prompt

This package is suited to students who are quite confident with their essay writing skills but would like more opportunities to practice multiple choice questions in order to get exposure to a wide range of questions and improve their timing. Full solutions will effectively support their study.

Package 3: Ultimate $199

In this package, you will receive everything in the Advanced package plus:

Correction and feedback for 4 essays via email.

This package is suited to students who may be confident with essay skills but would like to receive feedback on 2 essays initially then use that feedback to make improvements on the two remaining essays to be submitted.


To purchase additional exams, please click here

4 Signs That Your Child May Be Ready To Sit A Scholarship Or Selective Schools Test

In today’s competitive education system, students with high ambitions need to work extra hard to get ahead. The importance of a good education cannot be overstated. The bad news is, achieving a scholarship or getting into a selective school is getting harder and harder as students become more and more competitive. The good news is, if your child is talented and hard working, there are a range of opportunities out there to ensure that they reach their potential! Many prestigious schools in Victoria offer tests to identify which students they will accept, and which students are talented enough to receive scholarships. These tests can open doors for students who would otherwise not have had the chance to receive a top-level education. The question that many parents are asking is “is my child ready to sit a scholarship or selective test?” Here are 4 reasons why they might be:


1. Did your child score above average in their NAPLAN test?

Selective schools are looking for the highest percentage of students in each year level. If your child’s NAPLAN scores show that they are a year or two ahead of their classmates, then they are in a great position to sit a selective or scholarship exam.


2. Is your child passionate about learning new things?

Scholarship and selective exams are suited for students who are passionate about their work. These exams require students to be well-read, imaginative, capable of forming opinions, and have a solid grasp on complex mathematical concepts. If your child is passionate about their schoolwork, then they have precisely the right attitude needed to succeed.


3. Does your child feel unchallenged by their current schoolwork?

Selective schools can offer a great opportunity for students that feel unchallenged by the level of difficulty in their current work. These tests provide the chance for your child to work towards a more challenging goal, to approach unfamiliar and complex problems, and to see their hard work pay off.


4. Does your child have a talent for thinking creatively?

Selective school and scholarship tests are not just designed to test your child’s ability to remember facts. Students sitting these tests are required to think in abstract and creative ways. Students who love creative writing, or are good at coming up with a lot of interesting ideas will have a natural advantage.


Does this sound like your child? If so, you should be giving serious thought to having them sit a scholarship or selective schools exam. We offer a free assessment to test your child’s ability and based on the results, can give you a more informed decision as to which pathway would suit your child’s needs. If you would like to know more about selective and scholarship exams, or if you would like to discuss how we can help to prepare you and your child for this opportunity, please feel free to email us or call us today!

FREE 5 Part Scholarship & Selective Schools Exam Preparation Online Success Course.

For students preparing for upcoming scholarship & selective schools exams, sign up to our FREE 5 part email series addressing all major topics straight into your inbox! Over 5 weeks, we will provide you with tips and practical skills to help you deal with different aspects of various scholarship, accelerated program entrance exams and the selective schools test in Victoria. Topics include:

1. Reading comprehension
2. Verbal reasoning
3. Narrative writing
4. Persuasive writing
5. Numerical reasoning

Some sample questions and solutions provided!

What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Is Your Child Ready For The Selective Schools Test?

On Saturday 1st June, Spectrum Tuition will be running a full simulated 3 hour practice exam for Year 8 students who have been preparing for this year’s Selective Schools’ Test in Victoria.

Program Timetable

Saturday, 1st June 2013
9am – 12pm (3 hours)

Students sit a full simulated exam under the same time constraints and exam conditions they’ll face on the day of the real exam. The exam questions will mimic the types of questions students are likely to face on the day.

Sunday, 2nd June 2013
9am – 12pm (3 hours)

Students will receive their corrected exams back. Our expert team of tutors will present a session on questions that were commonly answered incorrectly on the simulated exam. We’ll also provide students with invaluable tips on how they can prepare for the real exam and perform at their best on the day.

Places are strictly limited. For more information and to book your place, please click here